I often have a jar of these quick pickled pink onions sitting in the fridge – ready for topping everything from tacos to burgers.

If tangy condiments are life for you too try this mojo verde (spanish green sauce) or the chimichurri on this steak.

Bright pink onions in a glass jar on a wooden board

Why you’ll love it

These pickled pink onions take less than 5 minutes to put together, and are a wonderful accompaniment to burgers, tacos, hotdogs, fried chicken and rich beef meals – the list goes on.

It’s the perfect sweet and sour flavour combo and slight crunch to cut through bold flavours. 

Ingredients for pickled pink onions

All good quick pickles need a few components to work. The base ingredients (in this case onion), acid, salt, sugar and flavour.

Ingredients for easy pickled onions on a white bench top
  • Base: Red onions are the base here – the star of this easy pickle recipe.
  • Acid: Apple cider vinegar.
  • Flavour: Wholegrain mustard seeds
  • Salt: regular table salt
  • Sugar: I use caster (superfine) sugar. This way it dissolves just by giving it all a good shake. If you use granulated make sure to shake the mix very well to dissolve it or, heat the brine mixture without the onion first to dissolve it.

See substitution ideas below too.

How to pickle onions

Onions, vinegar and mustard seeds being added to a glass jar
  1. Grab yourself a clean preserving jar.
  2. Add everything to it, put the lid on and give it a good shake.
  3. Let them sit for at least an hour before serving.

Substitutions and variations

With this simple combination of flavours and an idea of ratios in mind, you can get creative making your own pickles in no time.

  • Base: So many crunchy vegetables work. Try cauliflower or chillis for instance.
  • Acid: Use malt vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar – there are so many to choose from. Different vinegars will require different amounts of sugar and salt though. Just adjust to taste.
  • Salt: Try adding soy instead for a different salt or even flavoured salts.
  • Sugar: You can swap out the white sugar and use brown or even use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. If using a more granular sugar, like brown sugar, it’s best to heat the brine mixture until it dissolves.
  • Flavour: There are so many ways to add flavour. Spices like star anise, cinnamon and cloves in their whole form. Or heartier ones like curry powder, mustard powder or cumin.
Bright pink onions in a glass jar on a wooden board

Frequently asked questions

What is the best vinegar for pickling

Types of vinegar that are good for pickling are;

  • regular distilled white vinegar
  • red or white wine vinegars
  • malt vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • rice wine vinegar

You can also use citrus juices like lemon or lime in place of some of the vinegar.

How long do pickled onions last?

This is a quick pickle and will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight jar in the fridge. This particular pickle recipe is not made for long term storage.

What to do with pickled onions

Pink pickled onions are great served with bold flavours and fatty dishes since the acidity cuts through both. I’ve served them with all of these recipe and they worked a treat.

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Bright pink onions in a glass jar on a wooden board

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Bright pink onions in a glass jar on a wooden board.

Quick Pickled Pink Onions

5 from 1 vote
These pickled pink onions are a sweet and tangy condiment just begging to be used topping salads, grilled meats, tacos and burgers. They only take 5 minutes to make and you probably have everything you need right now.


  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar (notes 1 & 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon wholegrain mustard


  • Slice the onion fairly thinly and set aside.
  • Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard to a clean preserve jar, screw on the lid and shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Add the onion and give it a good mix.
  • Chill for about an hour before using.


  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
  2. You can use regular granulated sugar but make sure to really shake the brine ingredients well to dissolve it. If it’s not dissolving, heat, stirring until it dissolves, before adding the onion.
  3. Calories are a based on 6 serves per cup.
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